Should I apply for a clinical doctorate, or gain more experience?

Discuss any aspect of applying for posts or courses (apart from the clinical psychology doctorate which has its own forum section), CVs, application forms, etc
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jwardmagic
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:00 pm

Should I apply for a clinical doctorate, or gain more experience?

Post by jwardmagic » Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:13 am

Hi everyone,

I have been considering what step to take next on my career/academic path, and was wondering whether my current experience and academic qualifications might be enough for me to apply for a clinical doctorate? I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts.

Work experience:

Mental health support worker with teenagers and adults (learning disabilities, autism, antisocial behaviour problems, anxiety disorders, depression) - Approximately 6 months

Brain injury rehabilitation officer in two hospitals (variety of ages and ethnicity of patients with a variety of different acquired brain injuries, presenting a multitude of different symptoms)
Approximately 6 months

Samaritans phone listener
Approximately 6 months

Assistant psychologist (in an ICU, with patients of all ages, and symptoms)
4 months short post

Research assistant (voluntary during my undergraduate degree, helping recruit and run PhD experiments)
1 year

Research assistant (voluntary after my masters degree, doing a scoping study for a systematic review)
3 months

Research internship with the Experimental Psychological Society
3 months

Research associate at the University of Bristol (leading part of a project to create a core outcome set for clinical and research purposes)
9 months

Acquired behaviour analysis tutor (when I could fit it in between other duties)
6 months

Paediatric burns researcher at a hospital
2 years and 2 publications

Qualifications

BSc Experimental Psychology - 2.1

MSc Health Psychology - Distinction (plus an award for the highest scoring student, and a joint award for one of the highest scoring dissertations, which is due to be published).

Professional doctorate in health psychology - Currently doing, but considering switching to a clinical doctorate.

I've heard of people with PhDs that have been turned down, as well as people who have been gaining experience for up to ten years, who have been turned down. So I'm wondering if whether what I have got might be enough?

Really looking forward to reading your thoughts.

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maven
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Should I apply for a clinical doctorate, or gain more experience?

Post by maven » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:01 am

This is an infuriating post for a number of reasons:

1) You clearly haven't read any of the many posts on the forum that deal with these ridiculous rumours about "people with PhDs that have been turned down, as well as people who have been gaining experience for up to ten years, who have been turned down". Suitability for clinical training isn't judged by time served, or number of qualifications. It is judged on the basis of competencies, reflective functioning, realism about the profession and interpersonal style. And the vast majority of people who get on do so in 2-4 years from gaining GBC, and on their 1st to 3rd application. Stop listening to the few people who think it is impossible because they haven't been successful (often for reasons that are very evident if you read their applications or interact with them in person) and start looking at the data, like a scientist practitioner.

2) How is anyone meant to judge your suitability by a list of experiences and qualifications that tell us nothing about your competencies, reflective functioning or personal style? You don't even tell us how much time you've spent on them. I've never understood why people claim experience as "1 year" when they mean they did the thing for a couple of hours per week over the course of a year, which probably adds up to 3 weeks full time work.

3) People are not lists of diagnoses. They are individuals with individual stories about their experiences and adversities, set in a wider socio-political cultural context.

You can't "switch" doctorate. You can apply for a place on clinical training against a high level of competition from other applicants. In the broadest of brushstrokes, you sound like you have relevant experiences to bring to this (though your perspective and terminology might not go down too well, if you are very wedded to the medical model) but expect to be asked why you haven't completed the doctorate you are on and why you should be funded to undertake another.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

jwardmagic
Posts: 38
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:00 pm

Re: Should I apply for a clinical doctorate, or gain more experience?

Post by jwardmagic » Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:44 pm

Apologies for upsetting you, I certainly did not plan to, but thank you for the response. I feel you were jumping to conclusions a bit with regards to how I view people, based solely on this post. When listing the different service user groups, I was simply doing so to explain that I had experience with a wide range of people, but of course I don't perceive them purely as a diagnosis or symptom. I think I wrote the post with terminology which sounded slightly too medical perhaps.

The reason I have been considering 'switching', is because clinical psychology doctorates not only allow the clinician to work in the 'physical health' area (as would a health psychologist), but also on the clinical mental health side of things, something that cannot be done on a professional doctorate in health psychology. I have become acutely aware of the link between mental and physical health during my doctoral studies.

Anyway, thank you for the response, and apologies again if the post upset you. It has made me feel more hopeful about the whole process!

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maven
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Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:00 pm

Re: Should I apply for a clinical doctorate, or gain more experience?

Post by maven » Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:39 am

It didn't upset me. It was just slightly infuriating because you have uncritically absorbed rumours we have worked for 12 years to disband, and didn't look at any of the existing forum content (including numerous pinned threads and wiki entries) that deal with these topics, despite coming on here to ask your question. You then made two "rookie errors" that we see over and over and over again by listing experiences as if you've worked for 103 years already, and talking about patients, diagnoses and symptoms rather than having a bio-psycho-social approach or being aware of how much all of that buys into a medical model that doesn't work with mental health, which is in the majority of people a response to our experiences (and very often a normal response to abnormal experiences). It just seemed an incredibly naive/stigmatising/othering post to make when considering applying for training in clinical psychology, and I wanted to reflect that you really need to address this or stick to health psychology where that narrow perspective might be acceptable.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool - Shakespeare

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